Endoscopic Repair of Tracheal Stenosis in a Blue and Gold Macaw ( Ara ararauna)

Presenting Author: Dennilyn Parker, DVM, MVetSc

Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Interpretive Review and comments by Dr. Nemetz:

Unfortunately I was not able to attend this concurrent lecture, but was interested in the possibility of success in regard to any type of tracheal surgery. I have performed the only known successful tracheostomy in an Amazon parrot, however the repair of a stenosis (narrowing or stricture of the airway) without incising the trachea made this topic unique.

A 7 month-old blue and gold macaw formed a stricture in its trachea that was discovered under endoscopy as a membranous stricture secondary to a surgical procedure where an intubation tube was utilized. The problem with any tracheal surgery is the risk of stricturing or restricturing post surgery from the reaction to the tissue manipulation.

Dr. Parker used an endoscope (arthroscope) and guided instruments inside the trachea to cut away the membranous stricture. The first attempt removed the stricture but a second one formed just in front of the original membrane. This was treated in the same manner with the endoscope and subsequent topical steroids. The bird remains clinically normal 1 year later.

Conclusion:

Tracheal lesions occur most commonly from trauma or infectious processes. With the life threatening nature of there lesions, it is important to find techniques that not only cure the situation, but also do not create subsequent complications. Endoscopy is a wonderful tool in avian medicine and Dr. Parker found one more use to quickly and effectively deal with this tracheal stenosis in a macaw. At The BIRD Clinic, I have incised the trachea to remove foreign material, repaired the trachea after gun shot injuries, have removed movable foreign bodies (seed) with endoscopy and aspiration and performed a permanent tracheostomy in an Amazon parrot with a glottal (area in the tongue) blockage. Today there are many modalities to help avian patients with tracheal disease as long as clients and referring veterinarians become aware of the potential success in these otherwise life-threatening presentations.